This post updates on the urgent need to deliver a temporary market for Seven Sisters market traders, which is one of the four current priorities of the West Green Road/Seven Sisters Development Trust (the Trust).
Seven Sisters Indoor Market has been closed since March 2020 following an electrical outage. This closure has had serious impacts on the market traders, who have been unable to trade, and the wider community who have been unable to access the services the market provides. This closure follows years of mismanagement and neglect on the part of successive market operators, the last of which declared insolvency, leading Transport for London (TfL) to take control as an ‘operator of last resort.’ As a direct result of this mismanagement and neglect, health and safety issues discovered in the building have prevented TfL from reopening the Market, leaving traders without the means to work, and countless further without access to their community.
In response, the Trust commissioned architectural design and research studio Unit 38 to work alongside the Seven Sisters Market Tenants Association (SSMTA) to develop a temporary market for the site. Unit 38 carried out four briefing and co-design workshops with market traders during September and October 2020, to ensure their needs were met. It proposes the use of empty and neglected space around the building to create lively entrances and public space that match the character of the high street. Through using hireable prefabricated components, the proposal ensures it is sustainable, efficient, and cost effective. The feasibility study produced by Unit 38 can be read and downloaded here. This work was funded through grants from Royal Society of Arts, Democracy Collaborative, and Guerrilla Foundation.
In October 2020, the Mayor of London mandated discussions between TfL and the Trust regarding our proposal for a temporary market. Several productive technical meetings took place later in the Autumn, following which a revised programme incorporating TfL’s procurement processes was sent to TfL early in 2021. Despite the urgency of this matter, and the undeniable need for a temporary market space, these discussions unfortunately appear to have stalled. In parallel, on 7th April 2021, Grainger announced to traders that they were unable to proceed with the installation of the temporary market at Apex Gardens, citing problems with the financial viability of their redevelopment plans for Wards Corner. A temporary market at Apex Gardens was a key commitment given to traders as part of Grainger’s redevelopment plan for the Wards Corner site, as stipulated in the section 106 agreement. While we hope that Grainger’s likely withdrawal means that the Trust will finally be able to deliver the long-awaited community plan, its failure to deliver the Apex Gardens temporary market leaves traders in an even more precarious position in the short-term.
Over a year has now passed since the closure of the market in March 2020, and little progress has been made to accomodate the traders and their businesses. Had TfL begun work in March 2020 to make the building safe, the market would already be operational again. Alternatively, a temporary market could have been delivered. Unit 38’s proposal has an estimated delivery time of 28 weeks, even taking into account TfL procurement processes.
The Trust is continuing to press the urgent need for a temporary market for Seven Sisters to the Mayor of London, Transport for London and Haringey Council. Now is the time for a firm commitment to be made to traders with clear timescales and evidence that this is being progressed as an urgent priority.
Please contact the Trust with any questions about the temporary market proposal. In addition, we will be hosting an online presentation of the Community Plan on Wednesday 4th of August, 6:30-8pm, which will include an hour of discussion and the opportunity to ask questions regarding the Community Plan and the Trust’s other projects.